We had thousands of votes this year for our annual Best Of Cobb! Thanks to our readers for sending in your votes for your favorites. We hope you enjoy reading this section and get ideas on where you can go eat, be entertained and more for 2017.
Compiled by Meredith Pruden, Michael J. Pallerino, Stacey L. Evans, Mark Wallace Maguire and LaTria Garnigan >> Photography by Erin Gray Cantrell and Kathryn Ingall
2520 East Piedmont Road, Suite 106, Marietta
How do we love the Café 33 waffle sandwich? Let us count the ways. But, it’s not just the waffle sandwich that won this East Cobb eatery the top spot for Best Breakfast 2016. From the fluffy build your own omelet and decadent breakfast bowl, to the Captain Morgan french toast and lick-the-plate mom’s doughnuts, you really can’t go wrong with breakfast (or anything else for that matter) at Café 33. They even have a build your own bloody mary bar (the perfect accompaniment to any brunch) on Saturdays and Sundays.
Chef-owner Shane Clements and his team work tirelessly to bring mouthwatering breakfast and lunch (both served all day) to the people of Cobb, and he said the Best Of honor (their second in five years) means a lot and makes all the hard work worth it. “I’m at a loss for words,” he said. “This is a team deal. Without my team, I’m just another guy chasing a dream. We won this because of them — not me.”
The Café 33 team has seen a lot of milestones lately. First, they began full bar service in October, then they were featured in the December issue of Cobb Life. What’s next? This month marks the beginning of dinner service several nights a week, and get ready for an expanded patio section this spring. With all these new happenings, they may take more than Best Breakfast next year!
Acworth: 3344 Cobb Pkwy. NW
Marietta: 2932 Canton Road
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Where do you go when you need a last-minute gift for one of the ladies in your life or just want to indulge in a bit of retail therapy for yourself? Glitzy Chiks boutique, with two locations in Cobb, has a little something for everyone from ages 9 to 90 and a wide variety of items you won’t find anywhere else. From boots, purses and jewelry, to clothes, gifts and even embroidery services, Glitzy Chiks has just about everything you could possibly want in a boutique experience— and it’s all color-coded.
Rustic chic, country cool and eclectic, Glitzy Chiks focuses on good quality apparel at reasonable prices. Although they do carry some big name brands (like Grace in LA Jeans, Piko Tops, Lokai bracelets and Paparte personalized gifts), the store’s bend toward value means your dollar stretches further than at the big retail stores. What’s more, you certainly won’t be skimping on style or customer service.
For first timers, be sure to set aside some time to peruse the truly abundant inventory, and don’t forget to enlist the help of staff. They operate more like personal shoppers than retail clerks and are more than happy to help you find exactly what you’re looking for.
Streets lined with stunning art drawn with chalk. A huge selection of craft beers. Live music. Your favorite food trucks. Activities that inspire creativity. Shopping a variety of vendors. Plenty of things to do to keep the little ones entertained. Gorgeous fall weather. Is Chalktoberfest the perfect festival? The huge, increasing turnout each year suggests many locals think so, including Cobb Life readers who voted it Best Festival.
The annual Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art event has grown since its beginnings as the Marietta Chalk Fest, incorporating the craft beer into the mix in 2015 with its name change to Chalktoberfest. Last year over 60,000 people flocked to the Marietta Square to view works by the 88 artists from the U.S., Canada and Mexico, taste over 120 craft beers and hear live music from a number of bands.
Held the second week of October every year, festival-goers get to watch and interact with artisans as they draw intricate 2D and 3D masterpieces on the concrete canvas. The unique festival also lets locals try their hand at the street art by participating in the non-professional chalk contest for individuals and school teams. The Craft Beer Festival takes place on Saturday, while Sunday is Family Day, featuring an abundance of activities and crafts for kids, including a kids chalk competition.
Best Customer Service
locations throughout Cobb
It’s the little things that make a difference. Calling customers by name when they enter the branch. Escorting them to where they need to go rather than pointing fingers. Offering coffee and cookies in the lobby, and a place for kids to be engaged. Returning calls promptly.
When you do business with Charter Bank, you become part of the family. “Each customer we serve has different needs based on their current reality and stage of life,” said Sylvia Hamby, Charter’s Cobb County regional president. “It’s our job to listen carefully whether it’s face-to-face in our branches, over the phone through our call center or through electronic communications such as email or social media. Customers will connect with us when we listen and respond accordingly.”
The Cobb Charter team was part of the Community Bank of the South, which for 16 years delivered exceptional service to area residents. After Charter’s acquisition of Community Bank, Hamby and her team continued its tradition of helping provide its customers with the knowledge, energy and innovation to simplify how people save, spend and borrow money.
“If applying our knowledge and sharing our energy through daily interactions with our customers, or offering the latest technology and services, are not delivered with compassion for or recognition of the individual they’re worthless,” Hamby said.
Williamson Bros. Bar-B-Q
New London Square
1425 Roswell Road
For over 25 years, Williamson Bros. Bar-B-Q has been feeding the metro area and we’ve all been better for it. Brothers Danny and Larry Williamson brought their barbecue concept to the area from Alabama.
The open-pit restaurant features a rich menu with meats cooked on the open fire daily with hickory and hardwood. Staples include baby back ribs, pulled pork and chicken.
Everything in the restaurant is homemade and the brothers stay true to the Southern style of barbecue. Williamson said the customers’ pick is definitely the chopped barbecue pork day in and day out.
“That’s always been No. 1,” said Williamson.
He said Boston butts are cooked for eight hours, chopped up and topped with the restaurant’s signature barbecue sauce.
Best Place To Spend The Day Outdoors
2382 Pine Mountain Road, Kennesaw
With over 3,000 species of plants and 31 sculptures on its 16 acres, Smith-Gilbert Gardens is a landscape of lush and colorful beauty for outdoor lovers. The grounds boast a variety of flora for green thumbs as well as those who just like to be surrounded by pretty things. On site is a bonsai exhibit, the Palladino Camellia Garden, a rose garden, a mystical-looking conifer area, as well as a tea house and waterfall, all connected by woodland paths.
What makes Smith-Gilbert unique is that, though thoughtfully constructed over several decades, many of its areas have a wild feel, as if it has been growing naturally.
History buffs appreciate the historic Hiram Butler Home (circa 1880), and art lovers are drawn to the intriguing sculptures. Craft and garden enthusiasts can take part in workshops, ranging from beekeeping to wreath making. Guided tours are available with advance reservations for groups of five or more. Guided themed field trips can also be booked in advance.
Admission: Adults, $7; seniors (age 60+) or active military, $6; children, ages 6-12, $5; ages 5 and younger, free. Memberships and annual passes are also available. Open year round, typically 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday; closed on Sunday and Monday.
Best Home Decor
Fabric & Fringe Warehouse
2440 Canton Road, Marietta
We’re beginning to see a pattern at Fabric & Fringe Warehouse— and it’s not just in their constantly revolving inventory of stylish fabrics. This three-time Best Home Decor winner has quite a following, and it’s easy to see why.
In a time where most competitors have gone to a cut yardage special order model, Fabric & Fringe still stocks full bolts of premium fabric in its 17,000-square-foot space. They also, as the name might suggest, have quite an impressive selection of fringe and other accoutrements.
There really is no other home decor store quite like it, which is why fans come from miles around. Owners Marty Williamson and Marla Garrett work hard to ensure customers never are disappointed.
“We always have a flow of new goods,” Williamson said. “We have merchandise for everybody.”
In keeping with his vision, a new outdoor line arrives this spring. The cutting-edge fabric boasts more light hours, enhanced durability and easier cleaning but it’s the great new patterns and leading edge woven options that make it a standout addition. It will be accompanied by a new indoor-outdoor trim.
Already in stock, is the made in the USA Revolution line, which is chemical free and uses innovative fiber technology for stain and sun resistance and easy cleaning. Find out today what interior design professionals (and major film studios) already know — there’s no place better for home decor than Fabric & Fringe.
Papermill: 255 Village Pkwy. NE, Suite 120, Marietta
Shallowford: 2421 Shallowford Road, Suite 158, Marietta
If Moxie Burger had been around during the great Atlanta burger wars, they would have won hands down — if OTPers had a vote. Launched in 2012 out of a small storefront in Paper Mill Village (where the East Cobb location still resides), Moxie is the brainchild of Pope High School graduate and East Cobb native Chas D’Huyvetter.
Today, Moxie is a popular locally-owned neighborhood gathering place with three locations (two in Cobb) and a flood of community support.
Although the locations are different, all boast a family-friendly atmosphere, great ambiance, good vibes and a hand-selected craft beer and wine list to accompany their made in house fresh daily fare. Choose from signature creations or build your own burgers and sandwiches with protein selections, including certified Black Angus beef, house-seasoned ground turkey or lamb, chicken breast and veggie-friendly portobello cap or black bean patty. Regardless what you decide, everything is made to order.
And, just because Moxie won Best Burger doesn’t mean there aren’t other menu items worth checking out. Their entree salads are huge and tasty. The Hebrew National hot dogs are stellar, and we bet you can’t eat just one of the sides (especially the pickle chips). Plus, where else in Cobb can you regularly get King of Pops gourmet popsicles for dessert?! Color us hooked on Cobb’s Best Burger.
Best Salon and Spa
Three-13 Salon, Spa and Boutique
2663 Canton Road, Marietta
Three-13 strives to be more than just a salon or a spa. They strive to be an experience that leaves guests feeling welcomed, pampered and beautiful.
That experience starts when clients first walk through the door — staff make it a priority give a warm and inviting welcome to make sure everyone feels at home, said Tony Lacey, partner and director of the artistic team.
Every client is also pampered with a complimentary parrafin wax treatment for the hands — which not only makes your hands smooth, but is also a very relaxing experience. If that doesn’t do the trick, the complimentary scalp, neck and upper back massage while getting shampooed certainly will.
Although they are known for cutting-edge style, the hair artists at Three-13 can help you achieve the look you want, whether it’s cutting-edge or conservative and traditional, said Marian E. Crowell, partner and international hairstylist. The employees are continuously being educated in their craft, and they educate their clients also, ensuring they know how to recreate the ‘fresh from the salon look’ at home.
“We have very motivated employees that love what they do. And I think that makes a big difference,” Tony said.
Many Cobb County brides also opt to get their hair and makeup done at Three-13, Marian said.
“Our makeup artists are amazing. There is big difference between getting makeup done for everyday and makeup for when you are going to be photographed a lot. Our artists are experts in getting everyone’s makeup how they want it but how it’s going to photograph as well.”
Cobb Life readers aren’t the only ones bestowing Three-13 and its employees with the ‘best’ title. The salon/spa and its staff have received countless awards and accolades in its 43 years of business.
In those decades, they have also formed strong bonds with their clients and community. In addition to giving back by donating to various schools and charities, each year the salon hosts Angels of Life, a fundraiser for Georgia Transplant Foundation.
“The environment that Lester, Marian and Tony created over the last 43 years is what keeps our guests coming back,” said Christina Herrera, director of operations. “We have over 40,000 clients in our computer database and that says a lot about a business to keep and retain that many clients … it is because of the way we treat our guests and the added value that we put into the service to make it like no other experience.”
With services that range from haircuts to nails to waxing to facials to massage and body treatments, Three-13 is a one-stop shop for many beauty and wellness needs.
“We try to be there for every single [salon and spa] need our clients have,” Marian said. “I love helping people look their best; it’s very rewarding to do someone’s hair and makeup and have them say ‘this is the prettiest I’ve ever been.’”
Best Fine Dining
Seed Kitchen & Bar
1311 Johnson Ferry Road, Suite 504, Marietta
When chef-owner Doug Turbush first conceptualized Seed Kitchen & Bar, his vision was of a quaint little bistro in his own backyard. But, since opening the doors to rave reviews back in 2011, this East Cobb staple has evolved into a high-volume behemoth. One thing, however, hasn’t changed with the restaurant’s popularity: its focus on local, seasonal and artisanal ingredients in the kitchen and at the bar.
Although the menu rotates seasonally, with upcoming winter tweaks adjusting for heartier dishes and more comfort food, there is some standard fare that never changes and keeps patrons coming back for more.
Items like the super shareable white corn grit fritters with jalapeño pepper jelly and Thomasville tomme will start your meal off right, while the ever-fashionable and delicious pan roasted blue cod with caramelized Brussel sprouts, cauliflower and Thai herb vinaigrette is a consummate crowd favorite.
Turbush already was well known for his creative, award-winning approach to cuisine before opening Seed, so it should come as no surprise that his first solo venture has garnered numerous accolades, including this year’s Best Fine Dining honors. Stop into this neighborhood eatery for high quality fare served up with a smile, and don’t miss Stem Wine Bar next door or Drift Fish House & Oyster Bar down the street for more of Turbush’s signature culinary style.
156 Roswell St., Marietta
Although her name has been synonymous with delicious and unique cupcakes since winning Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars” in 2012, Mamie Doyle of Miss Mamie’s bakery has more recently been receiving acclaim for her true love – custom cakes. Mamie and her crew were featured in June 2016 on the Cooking Channel’s “Cake Hunters,” in which bakers compete to design the perfect wedding cake for engaged couples.
On the show, Mamie and her team took the concept of one of the shop’s most popular cupcakes, Guinness, up a notch. The delightful dessert is chocolate and salted caramel infused with — you guessed it — Guinness, the stout beer. The wedding cake featured the same flavors with beers hidden inside a beautiful, flowery, shimmery five-feet-tall cake (yes, we’re talking full cans in a secret compartment, a surprise for the groom. You can watch the episode “Tiers of Beers” on cookingchanneltv.com).
While the world is taking notice of Miss Mamie’s through various media channels, the bakery has been no secret to Cobb Countians since Mamie and her brother Ross Doyle opened the bakery in 2009 on the Marietta Square. People from all over metro Atlanta flock to their shop daily to devour the freshly-baked desserts, including pies, tarts, cheesecakes and cookies, as well as the cupcakes.
Crowd favorites are the aforementioned Guinness cupcake, the coconut lemon cupcake, pistachio cookie, strawberry cheesecake and fruit tart. Seasonal favorites, like the gingerbread cupcake, also don’t last long on the shelf.
Those with a gluten intolerance and sweet tooth need not despair – you may call a day ahead and special order, or stop by on Saturdays, when they have gluten-free options.
Mamie’s desserts are touted for their unique and gourmet flavors, such as butterscotch oatmeal cookies, bacon-specked cupcakes or peach-basil cake (there are ample traditional flavors also, if that’s what your taste buds prefer). The desserts are all beautifully presented in the charming shop on the Square. An art major before studying at Le Cordon Bleu, Mamie’s artistic flair—and her love of designing—really shines in the custom cake creations.
“One of the things I love most is that I have a craft in which I get to be creative every day and work with my hands,” she said.
She also appreciates the sense of the community and small-town feel in Marietta. She enjoys being a part of celebrating milestones. For one local couple, she made a bachelorette cake, and then the wedding cake, and then a cake for a baby shower, and then the child’s first birthday, and so on.
“It’s nice to see familiar faces every day and one of the most rewarding things in what I do is growing with families,” she said. “That’s important to me.”
A sense of family is also important in her bakery. She praises her dedicated staff, who are happy to stay up with her until 4 a.m. completing an 11,000 Christmas cookie order for a local church. “That was a whirlwind,” she said, “but my team are hardcore. They won’t leave until the last cookie is done.”
Cumberland Diamond Exchange
2800 Cumberland Blvd. SE, Smyrna
What began in 1982 as a small loose diamond and engagement ring specialist with only two employees working out of a rented showroom has evolved into a multi-award winning, family-owned community jeweler housed in a freestanding 4,800-square-foot showroom.
Today, Cumberland Diamond Exchange, owned by husband and wife team Mark and Rhonda Jacobson, offers loose diamonds, stone settings, bridal jewelry, designer jewelry, custom design (using one of the few CAD CAMs available in metro Atlanta), corporate gifts, in-house repair and resizing, estate consultations and appraisals and more.
Cumberland Diamond Exchange is among the top five percent of jewelers in the country and its team, including daughter Melissa who works as the company’s marketing manager, is no stranger to high praise. This is their second Cobb Life win, and they also have been awarded numerous other accolades, including the coveted 24 Karat Club Southeastern United States 2016 Jeweler of the Year and Cobb Chamber 2015 Small Business of the Year.
With three graduate gemologists on staff, the CDE family is well known for its five-star relational service style, high-quality inventory and overall business excellence, but they also give graciously of their time and resources to more than 40 local nonprofits. As Rhonda, who sits on the boards of both the WellStar Foundation and the YWCA of Northwest Georgia, says, “When you’re blessed, you bless others.”
Best Golf Course
Governors Towne Club
4200 Governors Towne Drive,
The No. 1 handicap hole on the Governor Towne Club golf course in Acworth is the 4th. Your downhill drive on the dogleg left must miss the left bunkers and shape left to avoid going thru the fairway.
Once the drive is positioned, you’ll be playing uphill to a three-tiered green with bunkers on the right. But miss the green, and the challenge of getting up and down proves difficult. Governor Towne’s head PGA golf pro Roger Cherico calls it the most difficult hole on a course filled with multiple “best” holes.
With holes flanked by a majestic forest of giant hardwoods and pines, Governors Towne Club’s 7,250-yard tournament course features dramatic elevation changes, cascading creeks, unmatched Bentgrass greens and high flashed white sand in the bunkers enhances the striking aesthetic quality of its tournament grade presentation. The Curtis Strange design affords players the opportunity to be challenged regardless of their skill levels.